ULSAN, Feb. 14 (Korea Bizwire) – One of two dolphins recently brought to Korea from Japan died Monday only five days after relocating to its new home at Ulsan’s Whale Experience Hall.
According to officials, who announced the death on Tuesday, the dolphin died at 9:15 p.m. on Monday. The five-year-old dolphin left Taiji, Wakayama Prefecture, in the early morning of February 8 for a 32-hour trip to Ulsan. The dolphin was 2.6 meters long, and weighed 184 kilograms.
Officials said that there were no signs of any health problems until 9:00 a.m. on Monday. At 2:00 p.m., the dolphin refused to eat for the first time, and zookeepers decided to wait and monitor the situation after consulting with a local veterinarian over the phone.
Upon discovering symptoms of hematochezia (blood in stool) later in the afternoon, the doctor was called in for a physical checkup at 6:00 p.m. Several medical interventions were taken, including an antibiotic injection, but by 9:00 p.m., the dolphin started having difficulty breathing, and eventually perished despite resuscitation efforts on the part of the medical staff present.
The whale museum (which operates the experience hall) is already facing strong criticism, especially given that it had already encountered opposition when it first decided to bring the animals to its aquarium.
Most of the biggest initial concerns involved the strenuous journey – 700 kilometers by sea and 300 kilometers over land – that the dolphins had to undertake, and the fact that they would have to adjust from the wild to an artificial environment.
Animal rights advocates have long argued that trapping wild dolphins, which are highly intelligent animals, and placing them in a small fish tank is equivalent to sentencing them to death.
Other questions raised during Tuesday’s press conference included allegations that the transport vehicle travelled at a high speed of 70 to 80km/h, and the fact that the zoo didn’t hire a full-time veterinarian dedicated to the animals.
The museum denied the first allegation, while in response to the second question, officials said that “there are no doctors in Korea with professional expertise related to dolphins, and our budget didn’t allow for an in-house veterinarian.”
Later on Tuesday afternoon, officials found a hemothorax in the dolphin’s chest, which is so far believed to have caused its death.
By Joseph Shin (email@example.com)